Assessment of diurnal melatonin, cortisol, activity, and sleep-wake cycle in patients with and without diabetic retinopathy

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Shakoor Ba-Ali, Adam Elias Brøndsted, Henrik Ullits Andersen, Birgit Sander, Poul Jørgen Jennum, Henrik Lund-Andersen

OBJECTIVE: To assess the diurnal melatonin, cortisol, and activity/rest levels, as well as sleep quality, in patients with and without nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (DR).

METHODS: We included 25 diabetic patients with DR and 29 without DR. A total of 21 healthy subjects constituted the control group. We assessed the circadian rhythm by actigraphy and diurnal salivary melatonin and cortisol measurements. Sleep quality was evaluated by actigraphy and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) questionnaires. Light exposure was quantified by actigraphy. The primary outcome was peak salivary melatonin level. Secondary outcomes were mean melatonin and cortisol levels during dark hours, activity-rest rhythm, sleep quality, as well as level of white, red, green, and blue light exposure.

RESULTS: Peak melatonin concentration at 04:00 and mean nocturnal melatonin level were significantly reduced in all diabetic patients, regardless of retinopathy stage (p < 0.001). Levels of light exposures during dark hours were not significantly different in patients with and without DR and healthy controls. Only patients with DR showed increased intradaily variability in their activity-rest interval, indicating circadian misalignment (p = 0.04). Neither the objective actigraphic sleep quality parameters nor the subjective PSQI or ESS scores were significantly different between healthy controls and diabetic patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Reduced nocturnal melatonin concentration and increased fragmentation of activity-rest intervals revealed circadian rhythm disturbance in diabetic patients with DR.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSleep Medicine
Pages (from-to)35-42
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 224761013